The Testimony Of Scholars

That endless punishment is not revealed in the law, the wisest theologians of all creeds agree:

Warburton: In the Jewish Republic, both the rewards and punishments promised by heaven were temporal only. Such as health, long life, peace, plenty, and dominion, etc. Diseases, premature death, war, famine, want, subjections, and captivity, etc. And in no one place of the Mosaic Institutes is there the least mention, or intelligible hint, of the rewards and punishments of another life. - Div. Leg, vol. iii - JAHN: We have not authority, therefore, decidedly to say, that any other motives were held out to the ancient Hebrews to pursue the good and avoid the evil, than those which were derived from the rewards and punishments of this life. Archaeology p.398.—MILMAN: The law-giver (Moses) maintains a profound silence on that fundamental, if not of political, at least of religious legislation — rewards and punishments in another life. He substituted temporal chastisements and temporal blessings. On the violation of the constitution followed inevitably blighted harvests, famine, pestilence, defeat, captivity; on its maintenance, abundance, health, fruitfulness, victory, independence. How wonderfully the event verified the prediction of the inspired legislator! How invariably apostasy led to adversity - repentance and reformation to prosperity! Hist. Jews, vol. i. -DR. CAMPBELL: It is plain that in the

Old Testament the most profound silence is observed in regard to the state of the deceased, their joys and sorrows, happiness or misery.

If, then, the penalties of sin are limited in duration, we can understand this reticence, even though those penalties should continue in the future state, but if God meant all the time he was thus declaring temporal consequences, to inflict endless torment, he was deceiving his children — an impossible supposition.

Were endless punishment true, the Garden of Eden should have sighed the awful tidings from all its leaves, it should have been thundered from the rocky pulpit of Sinai, and have been shrieked into the ears of every transgressor from Adam down. Would a good being, a Father, would a decent being, any one better than a demon, sum up and particularize a score of trivial penalties, and conceal the one that should be mentioned most of all? Would a wicked human king threaten three months' imprisonment, say, for crime, and then behead the criminal, when convicted, all the time concealing from him this capital penalty? Is it supposable that God would stay to talk about drought, and fever, and scab, and itch, when he had intended to burn, or even to imprison in an endless hell? Such a supposition is too enormous for the human mind to cherish.

The silence of God for four thousand years, the fact that he never hinted at such a doom, demonstrates that it was not then impending, and if not then, under the severe dispensation of Moses, it is impossible that it should be found in the milder message of the Gospel of the grace of God.

Now all Christians admit that the people in the times of the Old Testament accepted the doctrine of the resurrection. Is not the fact that nothing is said to the contrary prima facie evidence that the resurrection state was by then regarded as one in which all was to be well? Is not the silence of the Scriptures concerning any evil fate there, a powerful argument in behalf of the New Testament doctrine of the resurrection, that all there are equal to the angels?

But let us proceed to some or the most striking of the positive declarations teaching universal salvation. We adduce first:

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